Transition I

School’s over – what next?


This summer, around 80,000 young people in Switzerland completed their compulsory schooling. Most of them continue their formal education at upper secondary level, either doing an apprenticeship or continuing at school to study for a baccalaureate qualification. However, not everyone takes this step immediately. Personal expectations and the options available also affect the choices made. The focus article in this issue explores the questions arising at the so-called Transition I stage.

First survey in 2019

Transition barometer highlights education choices

Commissioned by SERI and run by gfs.bern, the Transition Barometer of educational choices following compulsory schooling tracks the current situation and the trends at the interface between compulsory schooling and upper secondary level. The results of this year's April survey show an overall stable picture of the choices made by young people and businesses.

Young people

57% of teenagers at this transition stage have already decided on their next step.

  • In April 2019 an estimated 84,700 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 16 were faced with deciding how to continue their education.
  • Most have chosen to pursue vocational education and training after completing compulsory schooling. Going on to a baccalaureate school (academic or specialised baccalaureate school) is the second most common choice. Almost 20 per cent of young people plan to take a gap year or do a transitional course.
  • Around 47,900 teenagers – 57 % – already have something lined up for after the summer holidays. 28,800 of them have a signed apprenticeship contract or have received a firm verbal offer of an apprenticeship. The remaining 19,000 or so have passed entrance examinations or received offers for other programmes.
  • The majority of those wanting to do an apprenticeship already have a signed apprenticeship contract or a firm verbal offer (28,800 or 58%).


67% of apprenticeship places are filled.

  • In April 2019, companies were offering around 81,300 apprenticeships. Most of them (71%) have the same number of apprenticeships on offer as in the previous year. 12% intend to offer more apprenticeships than in 2018. 10% say that they are offering fewer apprenticeships this year.
  • 74,000 of the apprenticeships on offer are three- or four-year courses leading to the Federal VET Diploma (91%). The remaining 7,000 apprenticeships are two-year courses leading to the Federal Vocational Certificate (9%).
  • 22% of the companies taking part in the survey offer apprenticeships.
  • 54,757 or 67% of apprenticeship places had already been filled in April 2019.


“The shortage of skilled workers will worsen in several sectors over the next few years, while the realities of the profession will change rapidly as a result of digitalisation. An apprenticeship trains these urgently needed specialists so they can cope with the new reality. There is no reason why apprenticeships should continue to be less popular than the baccalaureate.”
Lukas Golder, Co-Leiter gfs.bern